External gear and dither

I’ve been thinking about this one for a while: when using the external gear plugin, you’re effectively going from 32 bits to 24 (and back again). This would “require” dither on the out. Therefore: could the plugin be updated to include (optional) dither? I guess you could insert a dither plugin before it, but if you use External’s gain, it’ll be a moot exercise.

Or have I missed something?


Dither only really makes sense when used at the end of a chain, I think. If you’re going to use external equipment, such as a compressor or EQ, you’ll be changing the gain and so will raise the level of the dither noise. Practically, any distortion created by not dithering to 24-bit will be inaudible and/or far below the noise floor of the converters anyway, I would think.

I know we’re always taught to dither whenever reducing the bit-depth, but unless we’re talking sub-24-bit, it tends to be academic. 144dB of dynamic range is far beyond anything we need for an outboard round trip.

Then again, perhaps I’ve missed something.

Hm, to me, this is one of the areas where science and personal experience very much match. I much prefer the sound of 32 dithered to 24 before hitting the DA (which of course IS 24) to the non-dithered version. This is also why I have put a 24-bit dither on all outputs, including the main, in my default Cubase template.

As for the external gear plugin, I would at least like to have the option to enable dither on the out, for those of us that care. (And for Cubase, I would really like a dithered mixer, but that’s another matter :slight_smile: )